Many companies choosing to set up camp in a market other than own do so with the prospect of increasing their revenue streams and boost their operations.
It may be tempting to set up a business abroad without making any modifications to the current strategy. However, establishing a business in a foreign market successfully cannot be done without the necessary planning and research. It is crucial to know what to look out for and what to steer clear of, if attempting to access unfamiliar territory.
There is no one-size-fits-all marketing strategy. What works well in one market may trigger a catastrophe in another. A business must look at a bespoke strategy when entering a foreign market. This may include anything from the adaptation of the business strategy to suit the local context, to changes to the current product offering. Furthermore, in most cases, the company entering the foreign market would need to publish content in the official language of the new market and create different promotional campaigns including separate social media accounts, targeting different market segments within the new market.
Market research is indispensable. It will highlight what the foreign market will require and preempt any faux pas. It will identify opportunities and minimise risks. Most importantly, it will keep the business relevant and focused on the way ahead. One must address a number of issues in their marketing strategy to ensure the brand will be successful in a new territory, and market research will aid in doing just that. Examples of such issues include differences in the economic, political, social, legal and cultural environment from one country to another. There is also a need for competitor analysis as there are different competitors operating in different countries. Experts can provide the much needed advice and guidance to help avoid pitfalls.
The assumption that a product’s appeal in the new market will be as great as it was in the previous market is unfounded. Even large international corporations are not immune to failure. Only objective market research will help address such hypotheses.
One must also couple his marketing efforts by investing in high-quality translation. Potential customers who cannot understand the function or properties of a product will not purchase it. Also, one has to ensure that any translated terms do not create any cultural problems by being synonymous with phrases of an offensive nature. It would therefore be wise to double-check any translations with native speakers before launching a particular product.
Beyond the issue of translation, it is essential to understand the customs of a foreign market. Failure to localise can result into not exploiting the full potential of a market while risking offending local values and religious beliefs.
In line with the ‘Think Global, Act Local’ strategy, a business should keep abreast of cross-cultural trends, customs and issues, and cater to the target market’s customer needs and preferences. Marketing activities will undoubtedly work their way into the target market faster and more successfully when adapted to local conditions and circumstances.